The Islamic State (ISIS) radical group has lost more than a quarter of its territory in Syria and Iraq. According to security and defence analysts IHS, the group’s control has reduced by 28 per cent since January 2015.
The ISIS’ territory fell from 78,000 sq km to 65,500 sq km during the first nine months of this year, the IHS reported.
However, the group’s losses have decreased between July and October. This coincided with reduced Russian airstrikes against ISIS positions in Syria.
“Last September, President Putin said it was Russia’s mission to fight international terrorism and specifically the Islamic State,” said Alex Kokcharov, principal Russia analyst at IHS. “Our data suggests that is not the case.”
According to Kokcharov, Moscow’s priority is to provide the Assad regime with military support. “…and transform the Syrian civil war from a multi-party conflict into a binary one between the Syrian government and jihadist groups like the Islamic State; thereby undermining the case for providing international support to the opposition.”
In August, ISIS militants lost the major border pocket of Manbij to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The group was earlier expelled from strategic areas in Hasakah province at the hands of the Kurdish YPG fighters and allied SDF troops. In Iraq, the Kurdish Peshmerga army and Iraqi government forces recaptured dozens of villages and towns from ISIS over the past few months.
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi | Source: ARA News & Agencies